It’s the end of an era — Apple has stopped making the once-iconic iPod. The little music player helped save Apple, and made the company a powerhouse in the music industry, but its day is over.
The last model is the iPod touch, which “will be available while supplies last,” Apple said Tuesday in a press release.
R.I.P iPod: Apple pulls the plug
Launched in 2001, the iPod revolutionized the music industry and helped make the MP3 ubiquitous. Hailed as a “21st-century Walkman,” it’s hard to underestimate the iPod’s cultural significance in the first decade of the century. Ads with silhouetted dancers with white earbuds plugged into iPods were seemingly everywhere. And the gadget wasn’t just for cool kids. Oprah Winfrey declared it one of her favorite things. And President George W. Bush, in one interview, talked about his iPod playlist.
But that was decades ago, and the world has changed. Apple acknowledged that Tuesday.
“Today, the experience of taking one’s music library out into the world has been integrated across Apple’s product line — from iPhone and Apple Watch to iPad and Mac,” the company said. The iPod simply became obsolete.
iPod: 2001 to 2022
Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the first iPod in 2001. Its 5GB hard drive could store “1,000 songs in your pocket,” as the marketing said.
With everyone now carrying around multipurpose devices, it’s hard to remember that the early iPod models could do one thing: Play music. However, the device became a game changer as the first easy-to-use MP3 player.
Over the years, the music player shrank in size as it increased in capacity. This kept sales flowing, with the 100 millionth iPod selling in 2007.
But 2007 also brought the release of the iPhone, which was the beginning of the end for the single-purpose iPod. Later came Apple Watch, adding another nail to the coffin.
“We’ve integrated an incredible music experience across all of our products, from the iPhone to the Apple Watch to HomePod mini, and across Mac, iPad, and Apple TV,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, in Tuesday’s press release.
The Apple Music streaming service also plays a big role. Many people prefer to stream the 90 million songs on the service rather than buy individual tracks, then put them on a device. And an iPhone or Apple Watch is better at that.
There’s just not much need for a dedicated music player anymore.
Apple said Tuesday it will continue to sell the iPod touch from 2019 while supplies last. But, realistically, the iPod era ended in 2017. That’s when Apple discontinued the iPod nano and iPod shuffle, the last “true” iPods. The iPod touch is more of a tiny tablet, or an iPhone without a cellular-wireless capabilities.